In October of 1914, the newly formed Narberth Civic Association began publishing a newspaper designed to offer citizens "an experience of co-operative journalism". Twin mottoes were heralded, "No matter how hemmed in, any wide-awake town may become notably bigger" and "The Citizens Make The Town". Weekly publishing of 'Our Town' with four Philly Metro-sized pages began in earnest with support from the local merchant community and classified advertising.
In its opening column, George M. Henry writes:
"...Owing to the various business and social interests of our citizens, it is, of course, impossible to set dates for public meetings convenient for all...The idea of conducting a newspaper seemed the best solution of this problem, as it offered a regular means of communication at nominal cost...this would offer not only a means of communication between the members of the Civic Association, but also serve the same purposes for every other organization in town...Each person can thus be put in close touch with all activities and with matters of general interest, and we hope and believe that with the help of all, this paper may be made the means of firmly establishing...the highest type of civic improvement--CO-OPERATION."
Mr. Henry's remarks were followed by Augustus J. Loos. Mr. Loos concludes his remarks as follows:
Let us cultivate a spirit of helpful optimism. Mere adverse criticism, without action, is worse than useless...Those who give their time and energies to public work should be made to feel that the citizens stand back of them...Let our motto be "Narberth for Narberthians," and all work together for the common good.
The words above serve as inspiration for the Narblog which your editor hopes will function effectively as a community newspaper in our Internet Age.
'Our Town' was published through the town's boom years. New tracts were developed, the Philadelphia Railroad was an economic force, and the Main Line grew in overall stature. The paper featured a number of regular sections.
- Local and nearby governmental activities including ordinances, politics, and other issues.
- 'The Fireside', originally published by Lady Narberth was a social register and gossip column. It detailed the events of the week, births, deaths, illnesses, engagements, vacations, and business developments in the borough.
- Coverage of athletic and social club activities for youth and adults.
- Letters to the Editor from citizens on every topic imaginable.
- Regional, National, and International coverage excerpted from other newspapers.
- Advertisements from local merchants interspersed throughout the paper.
- Classified advertising from citizens and small businesses.
- Factoids, jokes, and other light entertainment to fill out the columns.
In the week before Thanksgiving 1949, the 'Our Town' editor announced the paper's final issue. Over its 35 year run, the publication had been upsized to 17" x 23" and six pages in length. Yet:
With its next issue, Our Town, the newspaper of Narberth, will be merged with The Lower Merion Township News. This move, which will bring an end to the independent existence of Our Town, will, we believe, result in a better newspaper both for Narberth and for Lower Merion Township.
When Our Town was established in 1914 by the Narberth Civic Association, the Main Line was still in the "horse and buggy age," in which each community was largely self-contained. Today's widespread use of motor cars has broken down the barriers of space, and has given to each community a closer relationship to the communities which adjoin it.
Many Narberth residents are members of Lower Merion churches and other organizations, just as many Lower Merion residents are affiliated with groups in Narberth. Narberth pupils attend the Lower Merion High School, and in many other ways township and borough functions are coordinated.
In appreciation of the support of large numbers of faithful subscribers and of the advertising patronage of a few loyal business concern in the borough, the publishers continued Our Town as a separate newspaper long after that ceased to be economically feasible.
The opinions voiced about the demise of 'Our Town' and its merger with the Lower Merion Township News seem to have been lost. There was no more 'Our Town' to record those thoughts for posterity.